M. Night Shyamalan Continues To Talk About “The Last Airbender” As If People Actually Liked It

M. Night Shyamalan Continues To Talk About "The Last Airbender" As If People Actually Liked It
M. Night Shyamalan continues to deny his shortcomings as the director of the failed live-action film adaption of "Avatar: The Last Airbender."

M. Night Shyamalan: director, writer, ruiner-of-childhood-dreams. While many people know Shyamalan for his many theatrical accomplishments, a select few of us only know him in regards to his absolutely horrendous live-action film adaption of the Nickelodeon animated series, Avatar: The Last Airbender.

The film was quickly a critical and commercial (though this is a source of contention at the moment) failure. For some context, it took $150 million to make it and, in the end, it only grossed just over $319 million worldwide. There are a myrdiad of reasons why the film sucked, including the caucasian actors cast as characters that were of different skin tones and ethnic origins, the mispronunciation of character’s names, the terrible special effects, the laughable dialogue, and the sub-par acting. Even thinking about them puts a bitter taste in my mouth.

Well, M. Night Shyamalan recently sat down with IGN to discuss his new FOX series, Wayward Pines. One way or another, The Last Airbender came up during the conversation and the director had a lot to say to defend his creative choices. Most of it doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense and only confirms my suspicions that the man never even watched the show completely before writing the film’s script.

In case you want to hear some of his drivel, here’s some of what he had to say:

“It’s really weird because on the show the average age was, like, nine-years-old. My child was nine-years-old. So you could make it one of two ways. You could make it for that same audience, which is what I did — for nine and 10-year-olds — or you could do the Transformers version and have Megan Fox. I didn’t do that. That would have felt like, ‘Well, I’m going to make a movie about a kids show that my 10-year-old is watching and not make it for her. I make it for my guy friends.’ That felt like a betrayal of the innocence of the piece. In retrospect, is it too young to go out — it’s like what your intention is versus what they want it to be. Clearly, 10-year-olds — I go out and 10-year-olds are like, ‘That’s my favorite show! I love that movie!’ Parents come up to me and go, ‘They’ve watched The Last Airbender 74 times!’ Those kids, it’s for them. It was for them, to talk about mysticism and Eastern philosophies through a 10-year-old’s vernacular. So, you know, these are business propositions, which have very little interest to me, of like, ‘Hey, the business proposition is to get Megan Fox to be…’ You know, ‘You should age it ’til it’s that.’ That wasn’t the source material, you know what I mean? Whereas, also, like a Transformers, it’s really fascinating, because it’s valid for Transformers. You know why it’s valid? Because it’s the little boys that were playing with them are grown up now. They’re the ones who wanted to see Megan Fox. That’s absolutely appropriate, you know what I mean?”

 
So, yay? You ruined the film for your child too. He or she must be so proud. According to you, M. Night, making a movie for children means that it has to suck ass in order for them to appreciate it?

Even “Bryke” (Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino), the show’s creators, have commented that they choose to act as if the film was never made. Uh… That’s pretty much everything you need.

I mean, I choose not to believe what he’s saying because, as a die-hard fan of the series and its spin-off, The Legend of Korra, I was so disgusted at the lack of effort he seemed to put into the film. He chose to fool around with names and storylines and produce something that was actually less interesting than watching paint dry. Even to this day, he seems hell bent on refusing to acknowledge his shortcomings as the movie’s director, which only serves to increase the fire that burns within me.

Updated: This post has been lightly edited now that the internet has had a chance to weigh in.


What do you think of the M. Night Shyamalan’s comments about “The Last Airbender” movie?

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Jordan is the founder of RecentlyHeard.com. He is also a writer, graphic designer, and pop culture freak of nature. When he's not tweeting about chocolate, he can be found working in public relations and social media. He lives in Toronto, Canada.

  • FlareKnight

    Shyamalan….is he human or just insanely stupid? How does this guy still have a job in entertainment?

    You already hit everything he got wrong so no point repeating it. But how can he say that? He has to just think kids are idiots. But even that doesn’t make any sense with everything he screwed up. Even children could comprehend that he made one of the worst adaptations ever.

  • 13years

    The movie sucked, but commercial failure? 310 million on a 150 million budget is not a commercial failure.

  • Gabe G

    If it cost 150 million to produce but grossed 319 million, that means they over doubled their money. That’s hardly a flop in any industry. If my business doubled our money every time we sold anything, we’d be rich.

    Update: I just checked IMDB and they apparently grossed just above 130 million, probably just a typo or something.

    • Keyser

      You did the classic mistake of assuming the US is the only country in the world:
      $131,564,731 (USA) (19 September 2010)
      $319,731,881 (Worldwide) (23 September 2010)

  • Techngro

    I will never forgive him for what he did to TLA. I swear, if I ever see him on the street…there’s gonna be a serious misunderstanding.

  • brian

    The movie was terrible, but since when is more than doubling your investment and generating $169 million in profit a commercial failure?

    • http://www.recentlyheard.com Jordan D’Amico

      Maybe I misspoke. But to me, a Hollywood movie that only barely doubles its budget, factoring in the fact that the studio only gets a percentage of the revenue, is a commercial failure.

    • Austin_Colab

      That doesn’t count marketing, which, for big budget movies can top 150 million.

  • Mark

    I enjoyed the movie. So not everyone hated it.

  • http://www.recentlyheard.com Jordan D’Amico

    Can I proof-read everything you’ve ever written so that I can finally learn how to be as perfect as you are? Thanks. Send them over when you get a chance. 🙂

  • http://www.recentlyheard.com Jordan D’Amico

    Thank you!

  • http://www.recentlyheard.com Jordan D’Amico

    That I’m being pic-ed to do? Hmmm….

    PS – It is horrible. Don’t watch it.

  • http://www.recentlyheard.com Jordan D’Amico

    And yet you read the article and took the time to comment?

  • Michael Bennett

    I don’t understand why everyone is being a dick in the comments, I completely agree with the author about how shitty the movie is, although if they wanted a good movie they should never have hired shyamalan to direct

  • Tommy Calves

    First Class was a huge improvement on X-Wolf goes to Asia.

  • Lubomír Šálek

    Do you remember the episode “The Ember Island Players”, where the heroes watch an atrocious comedy play about their adventures? I like to think that this movie has actually been made in the Avatar universe, like the play, but decades later. Makes it bearable and actually kind of fun.